Despite our challenges, Hashem is always with us. Many of Hashem's miracles go unpublished. The Beams will now keep you on the edge of your chair for two days, with this gripping documentary about Operation Orchard, the destruction of Syria's quest for nuclear weapons. G-d willing, we'll air the second half here on the Beams tomorrow. Enjoy it.
With the 7th ceasefire now in effect and holding in the meanwhile, our soldiers are getting a well-deserved breather. Last week, the Jewish Community in Miami gave me a stack of letters that Miami's children wrote to the IDF soldiers. After returning to Israel, I gave them to an IDF artillery unit on the Gaza border who was delighted to receive them. Yet, so that the rest of the IDF could enjoy them also, Emuna Outreach put together the following 4-minute clip of these poignant, moving letters that come from the pure hearts of Miami's very special children. The clip has been sent to the IDF, and is here for your enjoyment as well:
Quite a few people raised an eyebrow when I quoted the Klausenberger Rebbe osb"m recently, who once said, "the Ishmaelites outdo the Nazis when it comes to cruelty. I shudder to think what will be." With the rise of the Islamic Caliphate (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq recently, the genocide against the Yazidis and Kurds and their utterly gory and indescibable atrocities against Christians, women and POWs, we now know exactly what the Klausenberger Rebbe was talking about - his far-reaching spiritual vision was crystal clear.
The ISIS is so brutally and sadistically cruel that even Bin Ladin parted ways with them. In fact, compared to the ISIS, Al Qaida looks like Sesame Street.
This is no longer a joke or a subject for living-room analysts. As you can see in the above map, ISIS now controls a quarter of Syria and almost half of Iraq. They are spreading quickly in the direction of Lebanon and Jordan, which puts them right near our backyard fence here in Israel.
Another great tzaddik, Rabbi Yehuda Zeev Leibowitz osb"m, said before he died that Israel won't be able to attack Iran. Nobody understood him. We already see that the USA and Iran have become strange bedfellows, for the ISIS is a threat to both of them. And, since the ISIS sees Jerusalem and the Land of Israel is the center of their caliphate (see their aspirations map, below), they are a threat to us as well. There are many surprises as Moshiach approaches, that even Iran and Israel have a common enemy...
The world's intel agencies are rubbing their eyes: ISIS sprouted virtually overnight, like a mushroom after a forest rain. Yet, they now control oil fields, banks and the Mosul Dam. They have vast resources. Sunnis from all over the world are joining them. Where did they come from? They came from Hashem, to jolt us out of our spiritual slumber. Will anyone, governments or individuals, wake up?
Here's a message to all the world's alligator-tear bleeding hearts - Gaza, and particularly Hamas, are a branch of ISIS in our backyard. We cannot compromise with anyone who is determined to destroy us at all costs, Heaven forbid.
What does all this mean to us? Hashem is telling us that it's time to wake up. Teshuva and unity are the order of the day. I pray that Hashem opens up our hearts - soon, amen.
Today's broadcast and shiur shiur is dedicated to the loving memory of Sergeant Ben Vanono HY"D (Ben Yitzchak ben Ilan and Sarit, image above), who was killed this past Sunday in Gaza. May his sacred memory intervene on behalf of all of Israel, amen.
With Hashem's loving grace, "Balance of Power" is the title of today's weekly emuna shiur (lesson) and live broadcast, which will take place this evening (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM local time, at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary. Don't miss it, because it will explain the responsibility that each of us has inthe defense of the Jewish People and our sacred homeland.
As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time as follows:
9:00 AM in LA and the West Coast, 10:00 AM Denver, 11:00 AM Mexico and Central, 12:00 PM NYC (EST), 5:00 PM in the UK, 7:00 PM Johannesburg and Capetown, 7:00 PM Israel. As soon as we can, G-d willing, we'll post a link to the lesson for all those who couldn't see it live. If you can't see the broadcast, you might need to download a new version of Flash Media player, which you can do here. We hope you enjoy the broadcast.
The war in Gaza is no longer an anti-terrorist operation. It's a dangerous full-scale war. We must all personally mobilize right now, to learn and pray in behalf of an IDF soldier who is now risking his life in our behalf. To get the name of a soldier that you can learn and pray for, go to the Shmira Project website - we highly endorse what they're doing.
Today was another gift from Hashem and a very moving day - I had the privilege of visiting and spending time with one of the IDF's best units on the Gaza border. We spoke about celebrating Rosh Hashana while being on maximum alert. We also had a lengthy question-and-answer session that was really inspiring. For example:
Sergeant R: Rabbi, the guys expect me to be the Chazan on Rosh Hashana. Halacha says that the chazan must be a tzaddik. How can I be Chazan when I'm far from being a tzaddik?
LB: The fact that you think you're unworthy, R, shows that you really are humble and very worthy. Besides, you put your life on the line 24/7 down here for the Jewish people; what other Chazan in the world can say that?
Corporal T: Rabbi, will Hashem really hear our prayers? We have to rush through them because down here, we must be prepared to be mounted and combat ready in a few short minutes. Also, we have to pray in shifts to switch off our buddies in their duty stations; it's not like praying at home...
LB: T, there's no angel in the sky who'd dare interfere with an infantryman's prayers ascending from the Gaza border. You guys are pure dedication. If I weren't going to Uman, I'd be proud and privileged to pray with you right here.
After my visit, I met with the platoon and company commanders who told me that this particular platoon's morale, performance and unity are the best in their brigade. That's what emuna does for soldiers. By the way, this particular platoon has 15 Baalei Teshuvas now - no wonder their motivation and morale are so high, they fully believe in what they're doing.
These guys are ready. We need to spread more emuna among the IDF's fighting men, and that's exactly what we're trying to do.
Here are a few wonderful shots from David Bader's superb camera:
1. LB checking out combat readiness
2. Questions and answers
3. Choose your weapon
4. A blessing for Rosh Hashana
We all owe the courageous young man of the IDF a ton of gratitude - the least we can do is to pray for their safety and well-being. May Hashem protect them always, amen.